Motor Planning is the ability to come up with an idea, make a plan to complete the idea, and carry out the plan in the correct order. This includes performing a skilled, non-habitual motor act, such as forming letters on paper when writing. Motor planning difficulty may be referred to as dyspraxia, or apraxia.
How do Motor Planning Difficulties present?
– Difficulty figuring out how to hold a pencil or scissor
– Difficulty planning out work on page or establishing memory of how letters are formed
– Difficulty learning how to button, zipper or tie shoelaces
– Pronouncing words or expressing themselves may be difficult
– Difficulty taking notes or writing quickly
– Coordinating gross motor movements, keeping up in physical education class, learning new motor tasks, or participating in sports.
How Can We Help Motor Planning Difficulties?
– Encourage physical and sensory motor activities.
– Play games such as Charades for Kids or Rush Hour Jr., and games that include design copying or motor movements, Simon Says, etc.
– Work on creating, designing and moving through obstacle courses. Have your child or student verbalize the steps to the obstacle course, then create it before moving through it. Once they mastered 2-3 steps, increase the number of steps or change a task within the course.
– Practice, Practice, Practice: children with motor planning difficulties may need more time than others to master a task or may need to observe the task multiple times before they are able to complete it.
– Provide accommodations within their classroom to increase independence, i.e., visual cues or markers on their desk for what items they may need, provide written directions for tasks or a visual schedule for the day. Copying and writing may be difficult, so a note buddy or a copy of the class notes may be helpful.
Some other planning activities to work on with your child:
– Play Foot-Prints Game: Follow the footprints down the path for a gross-motor, motor-planning, sequencing and processing challenge. You can make 10 markers to position on the floor and make 12 footprint maps to follow. Put down on the floor as many circles as shown on your map. Players stand in the start position and perform the action as demonstrated by your maps footprints, i.e.; if both footprints are pictured inside the circle…jump so both of your feet land that way.
– Folding towels or clothing
– Roll socks
– Pattern copying: you can copy block and peg patterns or hand clapping, ball bouncing patterns such as bounce, bounce, catch or bounce, toss to wall, bounce, catch.
– Encourage your child to initiate an activity or create a new game.
– Use sensory motor activities including climbing, jumping, crawling through tunnels.